Raids Blamed For Increasing Number of Mentally Affected Refugees
19 May 2010: A series of brutal raids conducted by Malaysian RELA Corps, Immigration and Police has been ascribed to the cause of escalating the number of Chin refugees admitted to mental and psychiatric counselling.
Around 60-100 refugees are sent to a counselling session run by the UNHCR a month and a few of them whose conditions are found ‘critical’ are referred to psychiatric hospital, according to VOCR (Voice of Chin Refugees) in Malaysia.
A Chin refugee woman was said to get shocked and have collapsed with a suspected heart attack in the office of Chin Refugee Committee following the raids by Malaysian authorities in Jalan Imbi on 16 May 2010.
In last Sunday’s raids, dozens of Chin refugee church-goers were arrested on the streets after the worship service and inside the shops while having lunch. Some of them were said to have been released on demand of UNHCR refugee card while whereabouts of others are still in question.
“Almost every week, there is a big raid operation by RELA (People Volunteer Corp) combined with Immigration and Police around Kata Raya, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Pudu where most refugees and illegal migrants live. Refugees are also often arrested at shopping centres, bus stops and junctions. It is unpredictable and unavoidable,” one of the Chin refugees in Malaysia told Chinland Guardian.
An increasing number of deaths related to depression and accidents have also been reported among Chin refugees in Malaysia in recent months.
Van Biak Thang